By V.S. Atbay
If you think life stops where you think it stops (at a dead end job or at 5 pm when your rushing home to jump into a pair of say...fuzzy pajamas) you may be underestimating yourself. Why? because you're capable of a lot more then you think you are. How? Easy:
AND SAY YES TO CHALLENGES.
Challenge yourself to grow, do something that scares you, step outside of your comfort zone and discover the hidden strength that is sleeping within you. I promise you, it's there. Just go ahead, give it a try and feel free to tell me all about it. I would love to hear some of your new experiences in the comments section below. Okay here we go! :-)
20 Ways To Surprise Yourself.
KEY PHRASE - I CHALLENGE YOU.
1) Make a list of all your positive attributes and have someone else read them out loud to you. How did that make you feel? Now take that feeling and work on it, enhance it, build on it and love yourself for it. Congratulations!
2) Ask someone to give you constructive criticism about either yourself or something that is important to you. Once you hear their feedback, I challenge you NOT to react negatively or sensitively. I challenge you to reflect on their feedback and not feel defensive. I challenge you to accept the constructive criticism positively and do something about it. I dare you not to feel insecure. Regardless if you're a top CEO or just starting your first job for $10 bucks an hour - everyone has some learning to do as knowledge is unlimited. Not to mention - when someone takes out the time to give you feedback, show your appreciation and remember that someone cared enough to share something valuable to you.
3) Confess something to someone. Something that you have been holding on to for a very long time. I challenge you to be honest, brave, upfront and raw. I challenge you to open the gates that have closed your mind and heart and allow your feelings to finally pour through. I challenge you to be honest once and for all; when you withhold the truth from someone, you deny them their rights to the truth. More importantly, living in denial, living a lie or fearing their reaction is no way to live. Do you hate your job? Then perhaps it's time to make a change and speak up. Are you feeling resentful? Angy? Unappreciated? You'd be surprised: When you free yourself from the heaviness of your own heart - you free others. When you forgive others, you forgive and liberate yourself.
4) Wear something you would normally never wear. Spice up your wardrobe and walk outside feeling great about yourself. I challenge you to embrace your "new and unique" sense of fashion. Go ahead, set a trend, make it your own and see what happens. Everyday is an opportunity to be bold, creative and unique. The world is a large networking system - let's put it to good use.
5) Change your radio station when you drive to work. Yup, no more pop music! (Sorry pop music...but your kind of all over the place...like on every...single...radio...station)
I challenge you to listen to something completely different then the usual genre of music you listen to. Even better, I challenge you to embrace the new experience and find one song that you like, as apposed to the usual main-stream noise. Go ahead, tell me about the new type of music or song. I would love to hear your point of view! Did it terrify your ear drums? Or was it something you will listen to more often? Not so bad huh? So you DO have an open mind.....interesting...;-)
6) Try a new drink or eat a cuisine you've always wanted to try but could never bring yourself to it. Clams? Oysters? Shrimp? Duck? Lobster? Eel? Sushi? Bubble-tea? Tamarind Balls? (Oh and I would definitely love to hear about this one. I tried oysters a few years back with a friend of mine. Not bad. I would try it again. (Thank God for lemons!)
7) Stage fright? Hate leading meetings? I challenge you to step up and express something you want to say. A poem? A song? A speech? A joke? Or how about just go out with a bunch of friends for karaoke? You'd be surprised at what you can do once your up there and feeling motivated. I assure you, your friends won't let you down. Let yourself shine, sunshine! (Okay, that was cheesy - I know).
Three years ago I went on stage to recite a poem I had written and I performed terribly. According to a friends constructive criticism - I sounded too "monotone" and ..umm..serious? But it was a great learning experience which taught me a lot about myself. I learned that there is a way to mix and mingle our inner voices with our external world. All it takes is a fine balance between stepping up and stepping out. To allow both our introverted and extroverted sides to mesh harmoniously in a state of total calm and confidence. More importantly, it's important to have fun while doing it - need I say more?
I'm looking forward to getting back on stage someday. Writing poetry is one thing, reciting it or acting it out is a whole new forest to venture through.
8) Apply for a position you've always wanted to apply to but felt you'd never get hired. Question; how would you know that if you've never tried? Apply, apply, apply! What you haven't tried, won't hurt you. Perhaps you're just the right person for the position. Don't assume you know how they (the employers) feel about your qualifications. Go out, apply, be your best self. The future is changing and so is our employee selection process in the work world. I hope this means character and personality over a list of ink smeared credentials. There's hope. Just saying.
Anyway - when you take a chance -you genuinely apply yourself and can rest your conscience regardless of what the outcome may be. So good-luck and break a leg! (wait..not literally...you'll need your legs to get to work...)
9) Find the strength to end a very unhealthy relationship, job, or addiction that you've been stuck in for a very long time and seek help. Go ahead and make that bold move. It's not as hard as you think it is. Time heals all wounds and making a change is better then no change. I promise. On the flip side, if you want to connect or re-connect - I challenge you to express your love or appreciation and ask that person out for coffee. Or, re-establish an old relationship/friendship. Everyone deserves a second chance. Go ahead, make your move - all the doubts and fears are all in your head and hesitation will only delay the inevitable, and the inevitable carries many surprises. More importantly, make it okay to feel vulnerable. You are human - right??? *squints eyes suspiciously*
Who knows, maybe they feel the same way towards you - guess you'll never know if you don't try!
10) Face a phobia - easy now...ease into it. Scared of say, worms? Okay, wait for a rainy day and when they come out, I challenge you to stare at one for more then 10 seconds. Don't squirm and don't run away. Oh, and please don't step on them! In fact, don't think anything negative or fearful, because fear is a product of your own imagination. Just embrace the unique moment and think of ONE positive thing about that worm. I know this sounds silly, but you gotta start somewhere. Look for beauty. Seek acceptance in all things unfamiliar. Unknown. Block all feelings of fear - your heart will not race out of control, if your fearful mind does not dictate your decisions all the time. So gather and center yourself, because your fears are just imaginary and fabricated emotions that take control of things you would actually enjoy if you allowed yourself to. The same applies to all other phobias. No Exceptions.
I've had a fear butterflies all my life, but I've been trying to allow them to fly around me more often this summer. It's not easy, but I'm certainly surprising myself! I try to visualize them as beautiful leafs blowing in the wind. Ugh.
11) Cook or bake something you THINK you can't cook or bake. Search the web, pick a random recipe you think you can't create and go for it! Then, take a picture of your success and make a little note! Okay, so you're not Chef Ramsey, (YET) but I know you can do it - just keep that extinguisher near by just in case...and hopefully, you won't have to drop and roll!
12) Be compassionate to someone today. I don't care who it is. A stranger, your parents, your siblings, spouse, a friend, the mail man, your neighbor, the pizza delivery guy, your fluffy pets. I don't care. Just choose a living being and be compassionate. Be kind, expressive and attentive to them, even if just for a moment. I promise you, it will make a huge difference in their day and yours too and will remind you of the value in kindness. Imagine smiling at a total stranger who was on their way to commit suicide. Scary thought right? You probably just made them feel important by acknowledging their existence. You probably just saved a life. It's not a far fetched idea or thought. Unfortunately, suicide and depression is very common. Human beings are very fragile just as we are strong. We can break easily, just as we can restore.
13) Allow someone to take control or spoil you. I challenge you to enjoy the love, compliments or company of someone else. I challenge you to put your feet up, laugh, smile and let go of all the buzzing thoughts and confused feelings in your mind and heart more often. I dare you to say: I DON'T KNOW and be okay with not knowing. Liberate yourself. JUST TRY IT - and allow yourself to feel confident, to feel happy in your own skin while you're around others. Positive energy is contagious and no quarantine required here. No thank you.
14) Visit someone you love or care about without notice. I challenge you to jump in your car (or the bus) and go for a nice long drive. I challenge you to ring the bell, plaster a big smile on your face, hold two smoothies, (or coffee's) and embrace the spontaneity of life and the surprise look on your lover, family member or friends face. (They may not tell you, but everyone hopes for some fun distractions --just don't get out of hand!)
15) I challenge you to trust more people and make an effort to make new friends and connections, specially with people that are different from you. I promise you will enjoy the company of not only like-minded friends but those that can challenge you to see outside of yourself. I dare you to embrace new personalities. Go ahead, connect away.
I've been an active user on Linked-in and have grown from 26 to over 500 connections in a span of days thanks to some wonderful coaches and mentors and my desire to expand my network. How? By applying myself, being open to networking and allowing positive energy and opportunities into my life. Fortunately, I've connected with some amazing people! if you don't step out of your comfort zone, you'll truly never taste or live life to it's fullest. The opportunities are endless.
16) Travel somewhere you've never been or always wanted to go. Surprise yourself and your adventurous side - explore the world, take lots of pictures and breath the air of foreign lands. You won't regret it! (Oh and bring some dark chocolate back...will ya?)
17) Attempt at a new skill - what frustrates you? Microsoft excel? Driving on the highway? Changing the oil or break pads on your car? Being too nervous to ask that girl or guy out? Starting a new manuscript? Business or relationship? Whatever it may be, dedicate some time and tackle this skill/challenge once and for all. Research the web, talk to friends, get some active help, practice, practice, practice. I promise you will conquer your fear or difficulty in NO time! Your mind can do it, and your intuition will help if you're open to educating yourself and learning. Trial and error my loves, trial and error!
18) Eat healthy for one week. Yes, I dare you to cut all unhealthy junk foods for one week and then see how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. A lot better I'm sure. *Guilty look. takes pizza out of mouth*
Yes, test yourself, embrace your will power and tell yourself that you CAN do it - watch inspirational videos, talk to positive friends, and read helpful hints. I mean, don't you WANT to feel good? Don't panic, over react or get frustrated. I challenge you to remain calm and focus on your health and well being with an optimistic attitude. You need your well being in order to give birth to your full potential.
19) I challenge you to control you temper and impulsive reactions before reacting towards others. Can you replace anger with calmness, patience or understanding? Are you human? Do you have a heart? Do you bleed? Have you been calm before? Yes? Great! Then you can do it again. Hurting others and making bad decisions on a moments notice will surely leave scars and broken relationships faster then you can say "I'm sorry."
Oh - and a sense of humor always helps.. ;-)
20) I challenge you to adopt a positive frame of mind and attitude for 24 hours. See if you can surprise yourself. Replace all doubts, anger, uncertainty, frustrations, self-pity, insecurity, resentment, hate, sorrow or pain with a positive attitude. Why not try kindness, honesty, love, calmness, courage, confidence and faith instead? How do you do this? Find something you love about yourself and know that even if it's just ONE attribute, you have the potential and ability to allow your mind to discover more positive attributes. More importantly, I dare you to laugh more often at yourself - and if you're crazy enough like me - with yourself.
Challenge that bucket list!
Go ahead, surprise me.
More importantly, surprise yourself!